See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

CSotD: The Nation That Walked Into Doors

We’ll let Jen Sorensen (Ind) set the stage for what is going to be an extensive and incomplete look at WTF is going on and, as she says, how we got here. As she also says, it’s just a partial cast.

And yet to say “We all played a role” is both incorrect and inane.

Plenty of people have been pushing back against authoritarianism, while the defeatist whine of “I guess this IS who we are” means surrendering to our worst aspects.

 

Instead, I am particularly fond of Marc Murphy (Courier-Journal)‘s piece, which cuts through a whole lot of cleverness and puts it in day-to-day terms with a metaphor that, if it doesn’t tell how we got here, offers a clue to why we are still here.

I was working in a small satellite office with two other people. Ed and I were at our desks when our third colleague came in late, her eye bruised and her arm in a sling.

She cheerfully laughed about a bit of horseplay that had gotten out of hand, and we all went back to work.

And then she told us what had really happened and we shifted from focusing on our jobs and concentrated on getting her a new apartment, some legal help and a new life.

What Ed and I really wanted to do was find her soon-to-be-ex and explain life to him with baseball bats, but we knew that wasn’t what needed to happen.

The priority was to get our friend clear of the abuse, the first step having been her admission that she needed to do that.

The system could then address the desire for justice.

But the first step was for her to abandon the horseplay story and come to grips with what had really happened.

Roddy Doyle wrote a novel on the topic whose title tells it all: “The Woman Who Walked Into Doors.”

I’m sorry, babe. It’ll never happen again.

It’s just that you made me so mad …

It’s just that I love you so much …

Sometimes you just walk away. Sometimes you get an order of protection and then walk away. Sometimes you walk away and then put the sonofabitch in jail.

 

And sometimes, as Nate Beeler (Counterpoint) warns, you find reasons not to walk away after all.

Because he really loves you, and he’ll never do it again.

 

Despite the clear evidence.

Despite the fact that, as Bill Bramhall (NYDN) points out, those loudest in their defense of the police during the BLM demonstrations turned around and murdered one officer while sending 58 others to the hospital.

They didn’t do it on their own volition: They were told to stand by, they were then summoned to gather in the nation’s capital, they were then sent to storm the Capitol, by those now pretending that isn’t what they meant.

Leading to our first

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ann Telnaes – WashPost)

 

(Walt Handelsman – AMS)

This Juxtaposition could be an entire class discussion, starting with the agreed-upon color scheme.

Telnaes however, portrays a cornered perpetrator, furiously pleading his innocence while a fire extinguisher mutely contradicts him.

Handelsman puts the brush in his hand and spatters him with evidence of his having spread that hatred, violence and mayhem, but offers an option.

Together, they suggest the nation’s choices: Face down the rabid fury of a cornered rat, or avoid the confrontation and offer him an escape.

At which point the professor steps back and waits for the first hands to go up.

 

Kirk Walters (KFS) shifts metaphors to mock those who defend Dear Leader, among whom I would include those fatuous suck-ups who point out that Trump never actually said, “Go execute my opponents.”

Or, in this case, “He only served him beer, not hard liquor.”

 

Then there are the ones who passionately defended free enterprise, until private companies began to enforce their terms-of-service.

Michael Ramirez (Creators) suggests that a Bolshevik wishes he had encouraged capitalistic free enterprise, not bothering to explain how Lenin managed to rise to power under the media restrictions of Czarist Russia.

I would prescribe a little more Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn, a little less Hannity and Limbaugh.

And none at all of this clown:

As I have said before, journalists do not have friends. They certainly don’t have “loyal friends.” Not during work hours.

There are any number of Westerns about gunslingers and sheriffs who become friends, and they all end with one or the other hesitating when it’s time to draw.

Sad? Hey, ain’t nothing sadder than the hole a .45 makes on its way back out again.

Okay, that preening bullshit is sadder. “Kick ass reporter” indeed.

 

Matt Wuerker (Politico) takes a more legalistic approach to the issue of free speech, harking back to Chief Justice Holmes’ oft-quoted statement of the limits of free speech, which some pedant invariably points out was in the regrettable unanimous decision on Schenck v United States that put intolerable limitations on political speech for several generations, until it was overturned.

Which is true, but it’s like saying that, because the casserole at a dinner caused food poisoning, you shouldn’t have eaten the salad.

I’d stand by what Holmes wrote, and it fits Wuerker’s point:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force. . . . The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

Note the term “falsely.” Holmes never suggested that warnings of an actual fire should be suppressed. You may take it from there in the present case.

 

Finally, this update on my friend, ably illustrated by Pat Bagley (SL Trib):

She got a new apartment, divorced the creep and, once freed to guide her own life, began sailing through all those doors that she once walked into.

Whatever happened to her ex? Why? Who cares?

 

Community Comments

#1 Janis Ian
January/13/2021
@ 1:10 pm

Thank you for using “His Hands”. It’s a favorite of mine, though that feels really inappropriate to say. Wayno was kind enough to send me the link. Much appreciate being a part of one of your pages.
All the best in these strange times,
Janis

#2 Mike Peterson
January/13/2021
@ 4:45 pm

Glad you saw it. The perfect song for the moment, though, as you say, not a moment we should feel good about. (But I feel good that others are on the path.)

#3 Mark Stacy
January/13/2021
@ 6:35 pm

In the Telnaes piece, I love how the tie blends into the paint/blood/whatever. Nice touch.

Really cool of Janis Ian to chime in, too.

#4 Tom Rath
January/15/2021
@ 7:34 am

I envisioned a cartoon where Joe Biden is being followed by the Democratic mule. Someone yells , Shoot his ass. Biden points to the mule and the mule points to Biden and both scream they meant You. No pun in shooting his elephant.

#5 Kathleen Ryan
January/15/2021
@ 3:15 pm

Excellent article. Hope you don’t mind if I shared it to Facebook. I really liked the cartoon with Uncle Sam carving in one of my favorite lines. Well done.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.